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Dr Rosemary Golding

Profile summary

Professional biography

I joined the Open University as an Associate Lecturer in 2009, and as Staff Tutor in Music in 2010. I studied for a BA and MSt at Merton College, Oxford, and completed my PhD at Royal Holloway, University of London. My research has focussed on the history of music as an academic discipline during the nineteenth century, on the status of music and musicians, particularly through professional institutions and accreditation, and on the relationships between music, health and wellbeing in nineteenth-century Britain. I have recently published a book on music in nineteenth-century English lunatic asylums (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021), and a documentary history on music in nineteenth-century Britain (Routledge, 2023). 

I am lead investigator of an AHRC-funded network, Psychiatry and the Arts in Nineteenth-Century Britain, in collaboration with Professor Susan Hogan, the Crichton Trust, and the Bethlem Museum for the Mind. I have organised three symposia for the Network, and we are currently preparing for a conference in Milton Keynes/ online, on 20-21 June 2024. See

I also convene the Health and the Arts Research Group, which brings researchers together from across the Open University, including central academics, Staff Tutors, research fellows, Associate Lecturers and PhD students. We hold regular lunchtime events and have run sessions on impact and media training, and a conference. See I post regular updates on my work on my research blog

As Staff Tutor in Music I have oversight of teaching in Arts subjects from our large, interdisciplinary level 1 modules to the MA in Music. I was seconded from this role to the post of Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching in Arts between January 2014 and November 2015. I have contributed to Music modules including A342 (Central Questions in the Study of Music) and have served on module teams from level 1 to MA. I am currently co-chairing production of a replacement Music MA due to launch in September 2024, and leading tuition for our large interdisiplinary level 1 module, A113 'Revolutions'. I am a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a UKCGE Recognised Research Supervisor.

I am co-chair of the Staff Tutor Liaison Group, which meets six times a year to consider topics of importance to Staff Tutors Student Experience Managers and Associate Lecturers, as well as communicating with university management about key issues. I have particular interests in staff development and wellbeing. 

Outside the university I am an elected member of the Board of the North American British Music Studies Association, and I am on the editorial board of the Journal of Historical Research in Music Education. I am also a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a member of the national advisory group for the QAA Subject Benchmark Statement Review for Music. In 2023 I qualified as a mental health first aider. 

I currently work part-time; my usual core working days are Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 9am-3pm, and Thursday and Friday 9am-6pm.

Research interests

My research covers areas of institutional and cultural history of music in nineteenth-century Britain. I am interested in the way music has been thought about over time, its status in society, and its different identities as an art form and cultural phenomenon. 

My most recent publication is a large-scale documentary history of music in nineteenth-century Britain. Commissioned by Routledge, the four volumes cover a range of topics charting the ways in which music was discussed and described in nineteenth-century print, from autobiographies to examinations of musical listening, from descriptions of concerts to philosophical texts. The volumes draw on my wide-ranging interests across the music and musical practices of nineteenth-century Britain, and offered a valuable opportunity to bring much of this research together. Details of the publication are available here: Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain - 1st Edition - Rosemary Golding (

My current research draws on my long-standing interests in the relationship between music and health, and in the historical perceptions of music's health-giving properties. This intersects with my work on the identities and discourse surrounding music in nineteenth-century Britain. My current project is focussed around music in British asylums during the nineteenth century and I have published a monograph on this subject, drawing on a rich body of archive material: My research blog, which includes information about my recent research, publications, conference organisation and public engagement activity, is available here:

My previous research focussed on different elements of the social history of music. In 2013 my first monograph, Music and Academia in Victorian Britain, was published by Ashgate. This book traces the development of music as a university subject at four British universities during the nineteenth century: Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh and London. See This was followed by an edited collection of essays on the Music Profession in Britain 1780-1920. Details of the book and its contents can be found here:

Selected Publications

Music and Moral Management in the Nineteen-Century English Lunatic Asylum book coverFor a full list please see the publications tab.

'Music and Mental Health: the parallels between Victorian asylum treatments and modern social prescribing' in The Conversation 9 March 2023 

Music in Nineteenth Century Britain (Abingdon: Routledge, 2023)

Music and Moral Management in the Nineteenth-Century English Lunatic Asylum (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2021)

The Music Profession in Britain 1780-1920: New Perspectives on Status and Identity (Abingdon: Routledge, 2018)

‘Dynamics of Change’ in Times Higher Education no. 2122 (10-16 October 2013); published online as ‘Music and the ‘Mickey Mouse’ degree debate’
Music and Academia in Victorian Britain (Farnham: Ashgate, 2013)

Teaching interests

I have contributed to modules across the Arts and Music curriculum, working on module teams including AA100, A113, A224, AA302, A870, A871, A873, A874 and A877. I chaired the Music MA modules A870 and A871 between September 2011 and November 2014 and the second-level module A224 between August 2017 and March 2018. I wrote two online units on research skills for the Music Level 3 module A342 and a case study for MA Music module A873. I am currently chairing production of a new Music MA module, A890 (90 credits), for which I am writing material on the history and nature of musicology, inclusion and exclusion in the archive, music and the Victorian asylum, and nineteenth-century music education, as well as study and writing skills.

As Staff Tutor I manage tuition on a range of modules across the Arts disciplines, currently A111, A113 and the Music MA (A873, A874). I previously worked as an Associate Lecturer on the introductory interdisciplinary module AA100, and the third-level music module AA302.

I supervise several PhD students, including topics in music and its social history in nineteenth-century Britain. I would be delighted to hear from potential PhD students interested in any area of music in nineteenth-century Britain, in the social and institutional history of music, in the history of music and health, and in the history of music education.

As Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching in Arts (2014-15) I had responsibilities across the faculty's curriculum, including developing new module content, teaching and assessment policy, employability, and accessibility. 

Impact and engagement

I maintain a regular research blog at

With thanks to a grant from the National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange I put together an online exhibition showcasing key holdings in the Crichton Royal Institution archives relating to its role in establishing the Arts within psychiatric care: Heritage and The Arts: An Online Exhibition from The OU | The Crichton Trust

My research on the history of the Crichton has been featured in the Dumfries Courier in print and online at (January 2024). 

I have published on my work on the history of music and mental health in The Conversation (March 2023) and was interviewed on Three Counties Radio on Sunday 23 April Babs Michel - London Marathon shout-outs - BBC Sounds starting at 3:12:36. I have also worked with composer Victoria Bernath and soprano Ruth Hopkins on creative work inspired by my research.

External collaborations

My current AHRC-funded Network 'Psychiatry and the Arts in Nineteenth-Century Britain' involves collaboration with the Bethlem Museum of the Mind, London and the Crichton, Dumfries. Both institutions are part of the history of psychiatric institutions and have a particularly important place in the history of the arts in psychiatric care and treatment. The Network brings together historians, scholars and practitioners in heritage, creative and health sectors to evaluate historical study and envisage new ways of collaboration and engagement.

I was also awarded a grant from the National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange to develop my collaboration with the Crichton.

I am a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists History of Psychiatry Special Interest Group. 

I am external examiner of the International Foundation Year in Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities at Royal Holloway, University of London. On behalf of The Open University I am an academic reviewer at University College, Peterborough, and Art Academy London. 

I am an elected member of the Board of the North American British Music Studies Association (NABMSA).

In 2023 I chaired the international conference on Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain, which took place in Milton Keynes and online. 

Externally funded projects

Health and the Arts in History and Heritage
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 May 202330 Jun 2023TCCE The Culture Capital Exchange

A micro project commissioning a consultant to produce 1) an annotated list of key items in the Crichton archives which best showcase its important work in the history of arts-health; 2) three blog posts, each detailing the story around one archive object or item.

Psychiatry and the Arts in Nineteenth-Century Britain
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Apr 202330 Sep 2024AHRC Arts & Humanities Research Council

The Psychiatry and the Arts in Nineteenth-Century Britain (PAN) Network draws together established scholars and early-career academics with research interests and specialisms in the history of the arts and psychiatry. The Network creates new opportunities for collaboration and insight as well as the potential for setting new research directions, through both focussed discussion of historical themes, and wider perspectives with the inclusion of practitioners in the health, heritage and creative sectors.

Asylum Sounds: Music and its uses in British Asylums, 1780-1910
RoleStart dateEnd dateFunding source
Lead01 Jun 201531 Aug 2017WELLCOME Wellcome Trust

This project is focussed on the nature of musical activity in British asylums c. 1780-1920. I hope to investigate both the nature of activity (asylum balls, ad-hoc music making, choirs and bands, concerts, etc.) and the ideas and discourse surrounding music’s therapeutic properties. Archives will cover both private and public institutions, chosen due to known musical links or a particular reputation for moral treatment: York, Norwich, Bethlem, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Surrey (Holloway and Brookwood).


Classical Music in British Children’s Television: Narrative, Communication, and Cultural Meaning (2024)
Golding, Rosemary
Music, Sound, and the Moving Image ((In press))

[Book Review] Choral Treatises and Singing Societies in the Romantic Age (2023-04)
Golding, Rosemary
Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, 44(2) (pp. 279-280)

Sounding the Archival Silence: Searching for Music in the Nineteenth-Century English Asylum (2022-11)
Golding, Rosemary
Social History of Medicine, 35(4) (pp. 1223-1246)

[Book review] The Oxford Handbook of Music and Intellectual Culture in the Nineteenth Century (2022-08-25)
Golding, Rosemary
Victorian Studies, 64(2) (pp. 340-342)

Music as Therapy for the ‘exceptionally wealthy’ at the Nineteenth-Century Ticehurst Asylum (2022)
Golding, Rosemary
Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle ((Early Access))

‘Appeasing the unstrung mental faculties’: listening to music in nineteenth-century lunatic asylums (2020-12)
Golding, Rosemary
Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 17(3) (pp. 403-425)

The Society of Arts and the Challenge of Professional Music Education in 1860s Britain (2017-04-01)
Golding, Rosemary
Journal of Historical Research in Music Education, 38(2) (pp. 128-150)

Seeking a Philosophy of Music in Higher Education: The Case of Mid-nineteenth Century Edinburgh (2016-10-31)
Golding, Rosemary
Philosophy of Music Education Review, 24(2) (pp. 191-212)

Organ Recitals, education, repertoire, and a new musical public in nineteenth-century Edinburgh (2014-10)
Golding, Rosemary
Ad Parnassum. A Journal of Eighteenth- and Nineteenth-Century Instrumental Music, 12(24) (pp. 89-113)

Musical Chairs: the Construction of ‘Music’ in Nineteenth-Century British Universities (2009-12)
Golding, Rosemary
Nineteenth-Century Music Review, 6(2) (pp. 19-39)

Music and Moral Management in the Nineteenth-Century English Lunatic Asylum (2021-09-02)
Golding, Rosemary
Mental Health in Historical Perspective
ISBN : 978-3-030-78524-6 | Publisher : Palgrave Macmillan | Published : Cham, Switzerland

Music and Academia in Victorian Britain (2013-08)
Golding, Rosemary
Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain
ISBN : 978-1-4094-5751-0 | Publisher : Ashgate | Published : Farnham

On the edges of society: the hidden musical cultures of nineteenth-century British lunatic asylums (2023)
Golding, Rosemary
In: Cortizo, Maria Encina and Nommick, Yvan eds. Between Centres and Peripheries: Music in Europe from the French Revolution to WWI (pp. 323-342)
ISBN : 978-2-503-60848-8 | Publisher : Brepols | Published : Turnhout

Music and Mass Education: Cultivation or Control? (2019-05-31)
Golding, Rosemary
In: Collins, Sarah ed. Music and Victorian Liberalism: Composing the Liberal Subject (pp. 60-80)
ISBN : 9781108628778 | Publisher : Cambridge University Press

Finding Musicology in nineteenth-century Britain: contexts and conflicts (2018-11-30)
Golding, Rosemary
In: Wald-Fuhrmann, Melanie and Keym, Stefan eds. Wege zur Musikwissenschaft / Paths to Musicology
ISBN : 9783761824429 | Publisher : Bärenreiter Verlag

Introduction (2018-03-26)
Golding, Rosemary
In: Golding, Rosemary ed. The Music Profession in Britain, 1780-1920: New Perspectives on Status and Identity (pp. 1-11)
Publisher : Routledge

Music teaching in the late-nineteenth century: a professional occupation? (2018-03-26)
Golding, Rosemary
In: Golding, Rosemary ed. The Music Profession in Britain, 1780-1920: New Perspectives on Status and Identity. Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain (pp. 128-148)
Publisher : Routledge

(Re)-configuring the idea of the Conservatoire in late-nineteenth-century London (2012)
Golding, Rosemary
In: Sirch, Licia; Sità, Maria Grazia and Vaccarini, Marina eds. L´insegnamento dei conservatori, la composizione e la vita musicale nell´Europa dell´Ottocento. Strumenti della Ricerca Musicale (19)
ISBN : 978870966947 | Publisher : Libreria Musicale Italiana | Published : Lucca

Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2022-08-15)
Golding, Rosemary ed.
Routledge Historical Resources
ISBN : 9780367435271 | Publisher : Routledge | Published : UK

The Music Profession in Britain, 1780-1920: New Perspectives on Status and Identity (2018-03-28)
Golding, Rosemary ed.
Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain
ISBN : 9781138291867 | Publisher : Routledge